After beating poor old Sunderland in the first round of the FA Cup for the second successive season at the Stadium of Light last month, Mansfield Town will be looking to again beat League One opposition as they travel to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday with a second successive season in the round three hat very much the clubs immediate agenda.
Over 3,300 Stags fans are to make the short trip into South Yorkshire and it promises to be a noisy away backing for Nigel Clough’s men at the Keepmoat Stadium with Mansfield on a good run of form which has seen them lose just one of their last seven matches (winning six in league and cup).
Doncaster, unlike the Stags previous opponents Sunderland, are struggling towards the foot of English football’s third tier with no wins in seven league matches, although they did beat league two table proppers Scunthorpe United in both the EFL Trophy and FA Cup first round last month to set up a tie at home with Mansfield, although underdogs, Stags Manager Nigel Clough will see the trip to Rovers as an ‘opportunity’ to progress with a chance to be in the hat with the big boys.
Clough stated “Our following is going to be absolutely key with the wonderful amount of tickets we’ve sold.
“It’s a break from the league and we’re looking forward to it.
“It gives us all a boost. To sell out is brilliant. That’s why it was such a good draw next to being at home, it is one of the closest we could have got and that shows from the amount of fans we’re taking, which is great for them.”
Clough will look to his in-form striker partnership to cause their struggling opponents defensive problems, striker Oli Hawkins has seen himself playing central defence until recently where back to his favoured position he netted and assisted in the 2-1 win at Crawley at the weekend.
Hawkins saying “I’ve been so used to playing at the back, worrying about being a defensive player and being defensive-minded.
“It was nice to be back up there and to cap it with a goal, an assist and a win. I enjoyed it.”
Hawkins strike partner Rhys Oates was also amongst the goals, the former Hartlepool attacker now has three in his last four, with his Manager singing his praises ahead of the weekend’s match with Doncaster, Clough stating “We need a little bit of luck, a good performance and we have got to try to get a goal like we always do. But when you’ve got someone like Rhys Oates in the line-up you’re more likely to get one.”
Nigel Clough has had good runs in cup football with the likes of Sheffield United and Burton Albion in the past, he’ll be looking to continue that rich streak of winning with the underdog with Mansfield as they look to progress even deeper in the world’s oldest cup competition.
Kick off on Saturday is 3pm with away allocation now sold out.
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Nigel Clough is looking forward to a league distraction.